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  • Writer's pictureStuart Sheldon

Did Your Parents Make Your Soul at Conception?

Do your parents construct your soul at that climactic moment? Or does it pre-exist, only to be reactivated in that surge of passion? Given all the loveless and wanton sex taking place, I find it hard to believe that this act is the source of all the souls of the universe. It seems our music was composed elsewhere, long ago, by something more profound than a couple of sweating primates knocking boots.

One of the most exhilarating aspects of parenting is discovering the essence of our children – who they are, deep in their cores. My two sons have bits of my wife and me within them. Did we make their souls? My instinct says NO. They are 100% their own people with souls far too grand to have been left to that chance carnal encounter.

Do twins have elements of each others’ souls within each of them? A friend of mine’s twin brother committed suicide. My friend told me his first reaction was to be physically off-balance, as if a stabilizing piece of his own being had been removed.

What about brothers?

The scientist and the artist

The scientist and the artist

My brother and I are profoundly similar in many soulful ways. I know, before he hears it, if he will like a piece of music. I know if he will find something funny. We cry at the same emotional triggers. Yet, we have staggeringly different world views. He is analytical. I am impulsive. He feels, in his core, the need to save people (and does so for a living). I observe and offer commentary which, hopefully, helps people help themselves.

With my kids, I marvel as each layer of the onion is peeled back. And am often surprised. Out of the blue the other day, Kai, my gentle, doe-eyed first-born, punched his unsuspecting little brother in the face, for no reason. Just belted Bodhi in the lip and made him bleed. Is Kai’s soul gentle or violent? Can a soul be both? Can a soul be evil?

May Electricity, "acrylic, World Book encyclopedia, paper, corrugated cardboard, oil crayon on canvas w original poetry, 36"48", 2005, Stuart Sheldon

May Electricity, “acrylic, World Book encyclopedia, paper, corrugated cardboard, oil crayon on canvas w original poetry, 36″48”, 2005, Stuart Sheldon

Vincent Van Gogh lamented, “There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”

Like so many, I have known intense loneliness. In my case, that agony was only increased by the fact that I believe I have a good soul, albeit a conflicted assemblage of hope, fatalism, compassion, judgment, laziness, ambition, love, spite, playfulness and intensity. I used to wish I was ignorant and less sentient, so that my pain would be less acute. Of course, now I am grateful for the depth of my feeling. It defines me, even if I have no idea when it all came into being.

The soul is like a supersonic jet – we know it is there, but it travels too quickly and mysteriously to be perceived or even understood. Luckily, it leaves in its wake an undeniable, earth-shaking, sonic boom of all the things that make life worth all the trouble.

Therefore, cry when you are sad. Laugh when you are happy. Allow the love you feel for another to be fully expressed physically and spiritually. And allow yourself to receive that same love from them. This is the antidote for living soulfully. 

“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” Rumi

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